One is one of the most highly anticipated films of last year. It was scheduled to hit the screens for Summer 2020. It wasn’t so unfortunately with the film industry shut down and the theatres closed due to the deadly pandemic COVID-19 and the resulting lockdown. So, the chatter that the movie is released during the election season in 2021 is outright trash talk. And we have to bear in mind that this Santhosh Vishwanath directorial doesn’t model it’s protagonist on current Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
Megastar Mammootty who gave the first hit for Mollywood after the reopening of the theatres with the horror thriller The Priest, wears white and white in One and plays a role that’s not as enigmatic as the Father Benedict in The Priest. He’s an ideal politician who wants to bring in changes in the system. As Mammootty is the hero in this film and plays the Chief Minister, it is obviously the opposition leader is the villain. Played by Murali Gopy after his excellent turn as the investigation officer in Drishyam 2.
The story concerns that of a CM who wants to give the citizens of his state a right to recall the rulers if they find the ruler unsuitable for the role. The topic is not new and political dramas are very common (including the ones where the protagonist is a Chief Minister) in Mollywood. But what helps this film is the way the issue is integrated into a film which is mostly about the political and personal lives of a blemish-less political leader and the fight he wages to bring the citizens an important benefit.
Mammootty is Kadakkal Chandran and is a senior politician and the Chief Minister of Kerala. His strong decisions and morals equally irk both the opposition party as well as the members of his own party. However, Baby (Joju George), the party secretary and Chandran's best friends from school days, always supports his decisions. However, things take a different turn when Chandran decides to present the 'Right to Recall' bill.
Writing and direction
This film isn’t as intriguing as another politically charged film Lucifer of Mohanlal. But the understated swagger of Mammukka and the fast paced narration make this a watchable affair. Unlike many political films which have overtly dramatic lines and in your face heroism of the lead actors, despite having the Megastar himself who’s known for his swag and style, writers Bobby and Sanjay didn’t deviate from the actual subject and the plot.
The protagonist is a human being just like any of us. He has his vulnerabilities and his strengths. He has to wage internal and external wars. The opposition takes advantage of even a smaller mistake from the system to bring him down. And there are forces who wants to create instability in the system and gain traction.
Mammootty all the way
Mammootty who recently played the role of Y. S. Rajasekhar Reddy aka YSR in the Telugu film Yatra might have lent that Andhra Pradesh leader’s rebellious streak when it comes to taking daring and often risky decisions without consulting the party high command. Mammooty is once again charismatic and looked all like a real life Chief Minister of any state. His nonchalant dialogue delivery is another asset for the film. Nimisha Sajayan who is generally a highly competent actress herself is miscast as the sister of Mammootty. Though this film boasts of hordes of characters, it is Mammootty who’s the major focus.
In the end...
The technical departments did a fine job and the film is made on a good scale. But it is the basic subject and the message it delivers alongside Mammootty’s dynamic performance make it a good watch. But the director and writers failed to create an explosive classic with such a subject as right to recall. The lack of conflict or rather bigger conflict between the party head and the CM makes this a lesser emotionally charged film. Recommended.
Rating: 3 out of 5.